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4 Qualities men want in a girlfriend

SheKnows.com love/sex columnist Margeaux Baulch Klein is a freelance writer and lives in New York's East Village. She believes all is fair in love and sample sale shopping.

The perfect girl is...

Thanks to Mel Gibson, we know what women want, but what traits do men find attractive in a potential girlfriend? After an informal survey of friends and colleagues, here's what I found out.

Young Couple Embracing

1. "A Good Girl"

"She's a good girl, a keeper," said Jay on last week's episode of MTV's newest reality juggernaut "The City" when mulling over whether to take his relationship with Whitney to the next level. But what does that mean, "a good girl?"

James, 24, knows how to spot a woman with girlfriend potential when he sees her: "She's not a hard-partier or a Paris Hilton wanna-be. She respects me and makes me look good," he states. In addition, if Whitney Port is any example, a good girl is trustworthy, honest, a loyal friend, and has film cameras following her every move. (Ok, well, maybe not that last one.)

2. A Nice Body

I'm not going to mince words with you ladies; nearly all of the men I talked to rated some attribute of a woman's physique as being important to them. This doesn't mean you have to look like Salma Hayek (or on the other side of the spectrum, Gwyneth Paltrow) to land a boyfriend, but you do have to take care of yourself and not look like a slob. Whether it's daily yoga, Pilates or a once a week hike, find a way to keep your body trim and keep those flabby chicken arms at bay. And don't give me that "I hate the gym" line because I hate the gym too. However, there are ways of burning calories that are fun, like going out dancing a few nights a week with friends or just rockin' it out at home with your iPod.

3. An Independent Spirit

Men do not like clingy, desperate, co-dependent, controlling, or jealous women. I know as I write this, there will those of you sitting in front of your computer screen thinking "Well, I'm none of those things." But are you?

"There is a certain type of woman whose always calling up and who gets mad when you're out with your friends because she says you weren't paying enough attention to her. I always steer-clear of those," says Rob, 43.

Every dating book in the world gives this advice, but it bears repeating here: Don't make your life about finding a boyfriend because it's like watching a pot of water boil. It will be frustrating and seem never ending if you focus on it too intently. And when you do find one, don't make him the center of your universe either. A boyfriend should be a complement to your already happy life, not the driving force.

4. An Appreciation for Life's Pleasures

"Happy, fun women who enjoy sex and can appreciate the occasional off-color joke," said Alex, 27, on what gives women girlfriend-potential status. 'Nuff said.

Want more tips to help you score the man of your dreams?

How to ask a guy out
How to turn a guy friend into a boyfriend
5 Signs to know if he likes you or not: Guys decoded
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